This equates to roughly one out of every nine people in the city.
This week Labour and Liberal Democrat councillors have called on the government to tackle ‘Backlog Britain’, and help exhausted doctors, nurses and hospital staff as they struggle to cope.
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New data released by NHS England reveals a staggering 6.5m people are stuck on hospital waiting lists – and 31,637 of those people are right here in Milton Keynes.
At the beginning of the pandemic, there were already 4.4m people on the NHS waiting list in England, which was then a record high.
This means that the standard of 92% of people seen within 18 weeks of a referral has not been met since 2016.
Staff at Milton Keynes University Hospital have been working hard to clear the backlog, and this means working longer shifts with increased workload. Despite these efforts, clearing the 31,000-strong waitlist could take a couple of years.
Councillor Jane Carr, the Lib Dem Progressive Alliance Cabinet member with responsibility for Public Health, said: “Too many people in Milton Keynes are waiting too long for treatment on the NHS. That’s not good enough, and it’s ruining people’s lives. The Conservatives can’t blame this on the pandemic. After a decade of Tory mismanagement, the NHS went into the pandemic with staff shortages and record waiting lists.
“Our doctors, nurses and hospital staff are already exhausted from working long shifts due to Covid and they’re now being asked to continue with no recognition of their contribution. It’s a shambles, and the Government isn’t doing anything about it.”
Councillor Emily Darlington, Labour Progressive Alliance Cabinet member for Adults, Housing & Healthy Communities, added: “The truth is, this government is delivering chaos and queues as far as the eye can see. Whether it’s passports, driving licences, airports, courts or healthcare, the Conservatives are turning this country into Backlog Britain. We need a real plan to get waiting lists under control, and we need it now.”